Huawei launches Mate XS foldable smartphone with better screen

Technology

LONDON (Reuters) – Huawei unveiled an upgrade to its folding smartphone on Monday, hoping that a higher-quality display and faster hardware will encourage consumers to spend as much as $2,700 on its premium version.

FILE PHOTO: The Huawei logo is seen on a communications device in London, Britain, January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

The new Mate XS comes a year after the Chinese tech giant showed off its first folding phone, which had back-to back screens that opened to create an eight-inch display. That device went on sale in China in November after the company improved the design.

The Mate XS has the same size display as its predecessor but comes with a stronger screen and an improved hinge mechanism to make the device more durable, Huawei’s chief salesman Richard Yu told a launch presentation in Barcelona.

The folding phone will be priced at 2,499 euros ($2,710) for its premium version and goes on sale worldwide next month, said Yu.

The launch was streamed from Barcelona, where the Mobile World Congress was due to be held this week before it was canceled because of the coronavirus.

Samsung Electronics (005930.KS), the world’s top smartphone maker by volume, narrowly beat its rival in the folding race last year, but its launch was delayed after testers encountered problems with its screens.

The South Korean company is persevering with foldable technology and this month showed off a device shaped like a make-up compact that unfolded to look like a traditional smartphone.

The Mate XS, like last year’s Mate 30 smartphone, will lack access to a licensed version of Google’s (GOOGL.O) Android operating system after the United States in effect barred its companies from supplying Huawei last year.

Global senior product marketing manager Peter Gauden said that Huawei’s first preference would be to use the full version of Android, but “in the absence of that we are having to go a different direction”.

Huawei also launched a speaker developed with French audio specialist Devialet, the first tablet in its Mate range, and two new notebooks – a top of the range Matebook X Pro and Matebook D with 14 inch and 15 inch screens.

Reporting by Paul Sandle and Douglas Busvine; Editing by Susan Fenton and David Goodman

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